Let me introduce myself; my name is Mae Dorricott, from a little village in the North West of England, and I’ve always had a fascination with the sea.
Awe is the perfect word to describe how I feel towards marine environment and consequently it holds a very special place in my heart. So, to be presented as the 2017 European Rolex Scholar is truly a dream that has now breached my reality, and I’m only beginning to realise how awesome the next year is going to be. A huge thank you to the Our-World Underwater Scholarship Society and Rolex for making this happen!
So, how did I land this incredible opportunity? Well, I have the privilege of having a mother from Malaysia and her family loves exploring their tropical coastline. We used to snorkel around the islands discovering the array of life the reefs held. But I distinctly remember the moment divers swam underneath me, blowing bubbles in my face and that was that. I wanted to be underneath the waves with them. My father, then followed my brother, learnt how to dive and I was itching to get involved too. As soon as was old enough I signed up and it’s snowballed from there.
Since then I have made my way up to a PADI Divemaster, a BSAC Dive Leader and Assistant instructor, completed my Part 4 HSE commercial diver qualification and have had experience on marine conservation bases. I’ve recently graduated from Plymouth University in Marine Biology, after having an absolute ball, and now have an innate passion to contribute to resolving our plastic pollution issue. At this moment in time I am half way through a Masters in scientific communication, an important tool I feel is needed in my arsenal to reconnect others to this environment that many of us truly care about.
I’ve recently landed back from New York, where the 2016 Scholars showcased their year and we were announced as the shiny new Scholars. The whole experience was such an amazing whirlwind-blur. The one thing I’ve taken away from it however, is the incredible experiences this Scholarship offers and I cannot wait for my first. It’s quite an overwhelming situation when you’re offered the chance to do whatever you like around the world (within means). Where and what do you do first? Well, firstly I want to develop more as a diver by pushing myself in terms of technicality and environment. I’m also intrigued to see a range of marine biology research in action and want to probe marine scientists in the field about why what they’re doing really matters! I especially want to see and learn how current research is communicated to others outside of academia. A lot can happen in a year, so, watch this space… I’ll be watching it with you, too.
Photographs courtesy of Mae Dorricott